Bostadsbolaget is a municipally-owned rental housing company in Gothenburg, managing around 25 000 homes all over the city. The company has ambitious sustainability goals and undertakes regular activities to influence tenants’ attitudes and behaviour. The client’s brief was to develop a campaign with the short-term goal of measurably reducing tap water consumption during the three-month campaign period. In the longer term, the goal was to raise the issue as a sustainability concern and influence behaviour in order to achieve a permanent reduction in tap water consumption.
We were faced with two main challenges going into the creative process.
First, the message we needed to convey was a solution to what was widely perceived as a non-problem. Gothenburg has a good supply of excellent tap water with no history of shortages. This would leave us with just general sustainability arguments with little sense of urgency. So, we needed to come up with a way of strengthening our case.
Secondly, Bostadsbolaget’s tenants come from all walks of life, live in different areas and face widely different challenges. Given a limited budget, we needed to find a single message and choose a medium that would enable us to reach as many of them as possible.
We immediately realized that social media would give us the maximum amount of reach for the money. We decided to go for entertainment and engagement by tapping into the “lifehack” phenomenon, i e smart and fun ways of making life easier.
So, under the #Waterhack banner, we invited the client’s tenants to share entertaining and creative ways of using less tap water in their daily life. TikTok and Instagram influencers were employed and the activity was set up as a competition with weekly prizes and a final grand prize.
To strengthen our case, we were able to tap into current events. The campaign was set to start in January 2023, at which time concerns about the availability and cost of energy were very high indeed. Since tap water production requires considerable amounts of energy, we added that angle to the general sustainability arguments, which considerably heightened the sense of urgency in our message.
The objective was a 5% reduction of tap water consumption in the client’s properties compared to the same period the previous year. This was reached and exceeded at 5.1%. The total amount of water saved was in excess of 42 million litres, i e roughly 17 olympic-sized swimming pools.
The campaign resulted in more than 400 #Waterhack entries from the public. The grand prize winners was a family who had made a internal competition of speed-showering, with 40 seconds of water use being the record.
The campaign generated a lot of interest, both in the media and with other property owners, including privately owned ones.